Ep. #1206 - Direct-to-Retail Strategies that Win
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey and Benoit Vatere, Mammoth‘s CEO and Co-founder, explore winning direct-to-retail strategies. In this engaging conversation, Matt and Benoit underscore the significance of crafting compelling content and an authentic brand narrative. Hear why viral content often falls short regarding conversions, the invaluable benefits of continuous testing, and the profound wisdom in discerning what doesn’t work as part of your journey to success.
Covered In This Episode
Direct-to-retail (D2R) is a win-win situation for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers. Retailers pay a franchise fee to the manufacturer for product licensing and development, essentially cutting out the middleman. Mammoth helps D2R sellers measure their marketing impact and how it drives wholesale revenue.
Matt and Benoit discuss Benoit’s journey and how brands should tell their story in short form. Benoit states that viral content rarely results in sales, and it would be apparent that testing and measuring are critical.
They talk about how telling stories, exemplified by platforms like Yarn and Wishbone, can become a powerful tool for driving the sales of consumer packaged goods (CPGs). Uncover valuable insights as they stress the importance of understanding what doesn’t resonate with audiences, steering clear of certain types of content, and selecting the right platforms to amplify your business. The discussion takes an intriguing turn toward the world of craftsmanship videos and personal narratives.
DTR is an exciting concept that could work for your startup. Learn strategies to help you win in this Startup Hustle episode.
- Benoit’s journey (1:15)
- What brands are missing regarding short form (4:15)
- Tell your brand story in short form (7:02)
- Viral content rarely results in sales (10:01)
- Testing and measuring is key (12:43)
- The importance of storytelling in entrepreneurship (14:03)
- Telling stories is the way to sell CPGs (22:00)
- Yarn and Wishbone (23:40)
- Why it’s important to know what doesn’t work (27:04)
- Craftsmanship videos are great storytelling pieces (32:17)
- Everybody should tell their own story (35:25)
- What content everyone should avoid (36:44)
- Don’t listen to your own echo chamber (40:46)
- Not every platform is good for your business (42:02)
- DTR and retail (45:00)
- Businesses are built on one out of ten things that worked (46:05)
- Don’t chase virality. Chase the quality of the engagement (48:16)
- Build and create value (48:55)
You have to test and measure, and you don’t only learn from what works; you learn from what doesn’t work. You understand what you should iterate with and what you should test next. And, then, you find which content will convert, that will go to sell to convert to a certain amount of sales. And that’s the expectations that we set. It’s not a silver bullet, but we will get you this data to understand what works.– Benoit Vatere
Everybody’s content sucked in the beginning until it didn’t. Everyone’s had a marquee piece of something that didn’t fly that they thought would. The key is just to keep doing it and doing it and doing it. And you know, very few go viral on their third post.– Matt DeCoursey
Don’t chase virality. Chase the quality of the engagement, chase the storytelling, and tell the right story. One of my favorite entrepreneurs and an investor, Reed Hoffman, one of the co-founders of LinkedIn, said that if you’re not ashamed of your first product that you pushed out, it is because you didn’t move fast enough. And that’s the same with content. Don’t overthink it; don’t try to make it perfect. Create, push it up, and get reactions from your consumers.– Benoit Vatere
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt DeCoursey 0:00
And we’re back, back for another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey here to have another conversation I’m hoping helps your business grow. We’ve watched the evolution of commerce and E-commerce, really just catch on fire and take over all of our lives over the last 10,20 years. With that, there are a lot of direct-to-retail strategies that have come up and many wins. Some don’t. We’re gonna talk about the winners today. Let’s let’s stick with that path. Before I introduce today’s guest, today’s episode, Startup Hustle, is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult and Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And as a platform to help you manage that team. Go to FullScale.io to learn more. There’s a link for that in the show notes. With me today, Benoit Vatere and he is the CEO and co-founder of Mammoth, You can go to Mammoth.la and learn more about what they are up to. Straight out of Santa Monica, California. Benoit, welcome to Startup Hustle.
Benoit Vatere 1:04
Thanks for having me. Great to be here.
Matt DeCoursey 1:06
Yeah, you know, let’s let’s get the conversation started with a little bit about your own backstory. And what brought you to founding Mammoth?
Benoit Vatere 1:15
Yeah, I mean, I’ve been building for a long time now. My first startup was out of college. I was born and raised in France. I did that back there in 1999. And, you know, people are talking to Web3 days, I was a Web one guy who did that for a couple of years and sold it. Two years after, I entered college to eBay, Freitas, French eBay, and moved to LA. So, I’m in LA now for about 20 years. And I’ve been building since then. I think overall, over the last 20 years, I had a job for 12 months max or working for someone else. So that has been my own, my own gig. But what led me to Mammoth was coming from gaming, I was deep into the gaming world. Coming out, of a pretty large gaming network, selling it, and then starting to think that I could do the same thing. But for content rather than just gaming and entertaining younger folks on the phone through content, which led me to be on Mammoth, Mammoth. And Mammoth was at the beginning, just a publishing mobile publishing company, one publishing app led us to build a pretty launch influencer network for ourselves to distribute our own apps, which then led us to do that for other apps. And then one day we got TikTok, which knocks at our door, saying, Hey, guys, we see all the content that you’re creating, we have a problem, it’s a good problem. And we have a problem. Brands want to come on TikTok, but they don’t know necessarily out to create tick tock content and are reaching out to us to create content. And as a platform, we don’t want to create content. But if you’re up to you, we’ll create a program where we’ll send you the brands and they will create content, you will create content for them, and then they will come spend money on TikTok. And that was about three years ago now. And so we went deep into content creation for brands over the last few years. And now I think we’re about 300 brands deep. And for whatever reason, a lot of those brands were CPG brands. And, and what happened across the board, I would say for pulling 95% of those brands, we had the same we’re getting to the same point, three or four on says like I love the engagement, I love the views, but does it drive sales? And, my answer was like, well, I don’t know. And I was coming from a digital world where I could measure everything, I could see every single click, every single conversion, and then suddenly, I couldn’t anymore. So that’s what led us to the latest product that we built in the marketing tank, which is for read attribution. So digital to reads attribution, which led to a lot more, but that’s the that’s the I would say the two-minute recap on my last twenty years.
Matt DeCoursey 4:14
You know there’s obviously a lot to unpack there when it comes to let’s actually start with the content piece. What I do want to hit up the analytics stuff. It’s it’s it’s not as sexy to the listener so you know everyone’s everyone’s talking about content these days. What what was the what was the one thing or a couple things that you found that a lot of these brands were doing wrong? Or weren’t just what where were they missing when it came to create in short form?
Benoit Vatere 4:45
For me the biggest miss across the board is looking at a short form piece of content as a marketing piece. And people just trying to sell, or trying to sell good, or trying to push their or vision or their, you know, whatever is in their marketing bible trying to pack that into a 22nd video. And that was the biggest problem, especially as you know, TikTok became bigger and bigger. And then Reels came in which very similar format is, it’s all about real content. Authenticity is like things that you can relate to. And when you come to those platform with like a marketing message, it just doesn’t work. But that’s what marketers have been doing for the last, you know, 20 plus years, when it comes to digital content.
Matt DeCoursey 5:33
Whether you realize that, let’s, let’s talk about that a little bit more, because I think a lot of people listening will benefit from this. And maybe when you create, alright, you I think if you’re gonna create content, you got to put yourself in the viewer’s seat. And I know you’re sitting there, and I was doing it this morning, I was laying in bed, and I was watching little short form videos. And it takes what how long is let’s see, he can see me it’s how long does this take? Yeah, we want to finger down the screen. Yeah, and move on to the next thing. And I think it’s really easy to do that anytime, you know, I’ve been down this rabbit hole myself. And we’ve created a lot of short form stuff to now. Obviously, selling entrepreneurship or advice might be a little bit different. And by the way, CPG, consumer packaged goods. You know, one of the things that that I think that people are just kind of trained to skip the paid or sponsored ad. And the platform is doing pretty good job of hiding the fact that, you know, there is the word sponsor down there. But I think the moment that people get a whiff of the fact that they’re being sold to they just there’s that 1/10 of a second flip, and they’re on the way. I think a lot of brands have figured this out and have done a little more to show either the benefits of what they’re doing or perhaps just tell a brand story, which helps a buyer or consumer identify with the company itself.
Benoit Vatere 7:02
And I think you touched on that is the word story, right? How do you tell a story that will engage because at the end of the day, now, there is some crazy algorithm that will serve you the content that you engage with. So if you do that skip in alpha Sanken like TikTok or Meta, I will know that that’s not the content that you want. So you will never see that kind of content again. So if you don’t also lean on what the algorithm is recommending, you will never get in front of your consumers. And as the bigger thing and that’s why engagement comes from a story that you engage with, you cannot put like this, like, you know, the old days 499 act within the next 20 minutes or the deal is gone. Like that is not working on short form.
Matt DeCoursey 7:48
You know, I think another thing when it when it comes to short form and creating a is I think I’ve talked to a lot of people that they’ve this, oh, I tried doing reels, I tried doing tick tock, I tried doing this, but I didn’t get any views. The idea that you’re going to create something, and it just organically is gonna go viral, especially when it’s a marketing based message, you’re gonna wake up people, that’s not how this works. You know, these, by the way, all these platforms are running businesses as well. So, you know, they’re there to sell ads, I my rule, when it comes to content is if you create it, if it’s if you look at it, you say, Oh, this is something I wouldn’t boost or pay that, you know, pay to promote, then my question is, why are you publishing it at all? That probably means it’s crap. You know, if you create something you should be ready to promote it. Now, is the is the work that you guys do at Mammoth built largely around that or is it about trying to keep get some viral component going?
Benoit Vatere 8:53
I mean, there’s always that idea that, you know, the, I want my viral video to come at some point. But if they are coming to us, especially with this program with TikTok is because already to put media dollars behind it. So they want to be able to create as many piece of content as they can, so they can find a one that will engage properly in all tests. And I really, truly believe in that methodology about I’m going to create content and I’m not just putting in one piece and I hope that it works. I’m going to create 20 of them and I’m going to test it, right? That very, very, like old school direct response method works really well. And and you know, when when we look at TikTok and Reels you ask to test you never know what’s going to work who really don’t, right, and I get those brands all the time to say well, I tried TikTok, he doesn’t work. I tried Reels, it doesn’t work. No, no, it’s not that it doesn’t work. You obviously works. You have billions of people on this platform. You just you don’t know how to work it. And that’s a different story. Right and, and there’s a lot of things that you can do to understand either works or it doesn’t work.
Matt DeCoursey 10:01
You said at the top of the show what what creates sales and conversions? And I’ll tell you here’s I don’t know if this is a cautionary tale, but So earlier this year, I published a video on, you know, Facebook Reels. And it was it was me sitting in a chair and I was telling story about selling golf balls when I was a kid, right? Because we used to my family have a house or a golf course we used to go out. We go to the pond walk around in the mud, we’d find the golf balls because we’d step on and we’d clean them up and we go sell them up at the tee box. That video went viral, I got about 3 million, just under 3 million organic views on it. I got a shitload of new followers. Yeah, didn’t sell a single thing from it. Right? I mean, so like, I’m just saying, like, just because you get millions of views or something goes viral. And you had been kind of a joke around around around our house, that I had gone so long without a viral video because I published stuff. And you know, like, they always make fun of myself. And then of course, the one thing that comes along is a video of me talking about there’s even there’s even an article a magazine picked it up. But you know, it’s like, the thing is, is if I was if I allowed myself to be disillusioned, I’d tell myself that that was that video was successful because it added followers to my to my collection of followers that could then be exposed to the other stories that I tell. But as far as making sales, it didn’t sell shit.
Benoit Vatere 11:38
Exactly. It is very difficult to sell for a viral moment. Now. I had another brand and I cannot share the name of this brand. But you will find it as you as you go online, but the ad credit deal with Kim Kardashian. Right. And Kim posted on a real about the product. Obviously millions of views. And we expect she got Kim Kardashian to sell well, nothing’s zero E-com sell coming out, not a single one, zero, right. So now you can have sales. Well, Kim Kardashian sucks, he doesn’t work. Or you tried to understand why. Right? And obviously, there’s different things that get you this giving awareness of the product with one shot and probably a million of people aren’t going to see it. But if you don’t follow through with your messaging and engagement to buy, it’s never gonna work, right? It’s not just because you have a celebrity isn’t to talk about your product. That’s it, you’re going to sell out your product, this is not gonna happen.
Matt DeCoursey 12:40
So how do we fix this problem?
Benoit Vatere 12:43
Well, for me, I at least the way we’re seeing it work with brands is testing, testing, testing, testing, but that’s why we get into the less sexy part is you cannot test if you don’t measure. Right. So testing and measuring is key and has been key not just now I mean that for me, it has been key for the last 20 years of my entrepreneurship life. You have to test and measure and you don’t only learn from what works, you learn from what doesn’t work as well, like failure in testing is good. That’s all you get, you understand what you should iterate with, and why you should test next. And then you find is content that will convert that will go to sell to convert to certain amount of sales. And I’m gonna get into the even less sexier thing, which is understanding your cost of acquisition your lifetime value, but this is how you build a business. I mean, I’m sure for you building content, you have to understand how much it costs you acquire customers, consumers or customers through a single piece of content, but then you know, they are going to consume more, right, and know that and listen to podcasts. They know you’re gonna buy a book back I mean, those kinds of them. Like it doesn’t matter what what product you’re selling, you have to test and understand all of this. If not, it’s just a guessing game. And you cannot scale with guess.
Matt DeCoursey 14:03
Yeah, you can’t. Now I’ll give you an example. So in a podcast which analytics are terrible on by the way, right, like very difficult to track podcast and and its ROI. Or we any anything with an R really as it’s hard, but that I know that it’s accomplishing part of the point, when I do get on a call with a prospect that wants to use our services at Full Scale. And I’ll get on you know, typically, you know, you start a call or whatever, you might say, Oh, this is who I am. This is what I do at the company and I’ll do that and then the the person on the other end alliances. I feel like I already know you don’t need to explain and listen to the podcast. That’s an example of that. That’s the story though, because that’s the thing is, is you know, increasing the comfort level of the person that you want to do business with accelerating that that, that process to the point where you, you don’t have to build trust in the same short period of time that you normally do when Hey, okay, so you fill out this form on a website because you’re interested in a product and I get back to you and we do a call and you don’t know me from the next guy. So I you got to the trust and whenever but this is where that storytelling comes in. And you know, that’s, I mean, there’s books on books about this. I love the book, The Story Brand, I think it’s Donald Miller, I think is the author of that. You know, The Story Brand is is just kind of breaks down the way that you could or should tell a story. And by the way, great entrepreneurs are great storytellers, you know, and this is a very important part of brand identity in the modern business, but you know, essentially, you know, when in The Story Brand Miller’s talking about he comparisons to Hollywood, one of the first things he says in the book is, don’t read this book because I will ruin every movie you will ever see, for all time. And, and the reason is why is because there’s a very predictable format about what we look for and what we like as viewers. That’s why occasionally, some ad movie wins an Oscar and people go to watch it. And they’re like, what the hell is that this doesn’t make any sense, because it’s outside of the story brand. And that’s essentially, someone has a problem. If there’s a guide that takes that person through solving that problem or training to fix it. They face adversity, they usually have a setback, they come back, and then they win. And then there’s some kind of party at the end. Boom, we won. And which, by the way, and in starting in Empire Strikes Back, the second Star Wars movie, there’s a very weird scene at the very end of that, where just strangely, they’re just like 15 seconds they put a metal on, on Luke Skywalker and another one on Princess Leia, and then it’s out. And it’s funny because I always wondered, I’m like, what is that? Why was that scene even in there? And that’s almost to complete the equation of the story brand. Now, and here in 2023, look at the right you mentioned Kim Kardashian like Kim Kardashian was nothing but a personality she was on a on a reality show with some interesting people peep whether you like her or not, that told a story about who she was, what they did it, build personality around it. And you can do the same thing as an entrepreneur with your brand. And if you’re strapped if you’re strapped for, for marketing or promo budget, go out and publish content. I’ve seen people do it all the time. I have clients that have millions of followers from just simply getting out there and doing it and guess what their first content is terrible. Yeah, well, yours will be too.
Benoit Vatere 17:52
Exactly, right. And I’d say you’re touching on something super important, or entrepreneurship. And I’ve seen that myself. And I was there was a tweet that popped up yesterday around that as like, you know, the most underrated skills for entrepreneurs, sells, and hungry. You asked she knew how to sell and that goes we storyline when I was storyteller. Sorry. Like the story of sells, man. And he’s a storyteller. A good salesperson is a storyteller. And as an entrepreneur, you have to sell your co founder you have to sell your investors you have to sell your consumers Yeah, you have to be able and selling sometime is a bad word for people but storytelling that’s what it is right? Pitching that’s what it is. And so I think that’s that’s part of when you actually use your example of your video that went viral with with a golf balls that’s such a good story. People love that kind of a story, you as a kid figuring out you make money now those stories we love those stories we engage with should we expect to sell product no people are going to now get to know you. Now, if you leave it at that nothing is going to happen. But if you start riding that wave and engaging with more content like that, and at some point leading to a transaction you won’t be like a good example. I think you’re an entrepreneur that did that was the founder of Crumbl Cookies. I don’t know if you follow them on on on on TikTok where you should watch his videos is solid like that. Just personally there was of his journey of making cookies and going from just making cookies in his kitchen to now, I mean, I don’t know how many stores they have in the US, 340 stores. And and then he went all the way to having TikTok live when he was eating dinner just talking about what it what his day was. Does it sell cookies? No. Does it build this kind of equity with the consumer? Yes, right? But it does. It does exactly right. He does that plus everything else but you need that piece.
Matt DeCoursey 19:49
On the exact opposite of making and selling cookies. If you need to find expert software developers that does not have to be difficult, especially when you visit FullScale.io to where you can build a software team quickly and affordably useful skills platform to define your technical needs and see what available developers, testers, and leaders are ready to join your team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Once again with me today, Benoit Vatere the CEO and co-founder of Mammoth, you can go to Mammoth.la. There’s a link for that in the show notes too. You there you talk about the it’s such an interesting world with this. I’ve got a friend that I’m actually going to visit this week and he talked about that the whole idea of the Crumbl, the Crumbl Cookies story, just reminds me a lot of the YouTube channel that my friends Erik and Jamie Perkins have started their builders, they are from a town of like 3000 people in Western North Carolina. There have 850,000 subscribers at this point. They started all they do all the whole, the whole channel is basically watch me work. And there’s a whole lot of stuff out there. You know, I’ve seen so many people do that. You know, a buddy of mine, JC Lopez out at Urban Necessities in Vegas has made himself world famous for sneakers because of that. And you know, here’s the thing, this is back to the story. Now, I hate the fact that I sell software because I made a video once been awhile, but it was like it said tech entrepreneur. A Day in the Life Of, right? And just had me sitting in front of a computer in some keyboards and I was like, I sent the email I replied all I attended everyone. And like, there’s some things that you really can’t show. But in industry, so like you mentioned, like CPG, Consumer Packaged Goods, people buy things because of the benefit that it provides. Yeah, that’s pretty easy to show. And, and and, you know, it’s it’s, it’s an easy thing to show how you’re doing it.
Benoit Vatere 21:59
And I’m drinking this thing AG One I love you’ve seen that thing. That thing is blowing up right and I bought it because I watch it on TikTok and I saw that it was good for me. But also the story behind it. The videos were like all about authenticity, there was someone like we in the morning grabbing their juice and figuring out why it was better to take data compared to 200 pills. Right? And so yes, that’s that’s how you I think those days, that’s how you have to do marketing, with CPG? Actually CPG is seeing things moving a little bit. It used to be all about the benefits, but now it’s about the story. Right? And so like, you know, it could be a sort of a story that is about, you know, the quality of the product and the craftsmanship of the product. It could be a funny brand. Like, you know, I if I take the one I were working with quite a bit Liquid Death. Liquid Death is water. So what are you going to say about water? Like it says, yeah, it comes from the French hops or whatever it is that we’ve heard 30 times already. But that’s why they add they did something different, right? It was all about, it’s about comedy. It’s really fun. And you can really lean on that on that brand. But you also have a bunch of other ones like the CEO of brands right now. It was your world. It used to be so boring, right? And now you have those guys like off limits, magic spoon, it’s all like you look at the content they create on TikTok it’s all fun, while still telling you it’s good for you. But it’s a totally different way to tackle brands. Right? If there is a story behind it. There is something that when you see the video, even if you don’t see the brand name, you understand, you know who they are you can you remember, Oh, I’ve seen those guys before, right?
Matt DeCoursey 23:38
Yeah, I run into that occasionally. Yeah, being being the spokesperson for our company. And largely in the Philippines. We’ve had millions upon millions of impressions for recruiting software developers. So occasionally, I’m in the IT Park and someone walks by but hey, you’re the Full Scale god. Oh, my God. Let’s talk a little bit about Yarn. Can we?
Benoit Vatere 24:04
Yeah, we can. I mean, that’s that old school app that I build. That is there’s a lot to say about it. So fun.
Matt DeCoursey 24:11
Yeah, well, so well. Tell us about it.
Benoit Vatere 24:13
Yeah, so this app actually, we we built it to tell stories. And we realized that when it came to a mobile screen and short attention span, and talking to younger folks, just having long-form chapter books was not necessarily working. And when we looked at how do Gen Z’s, like you know, the 15 to 25 years old folks read content those days, it’s mostly to through text messages. So we told ourselves can we tell a story through text messages? Can people text each other and that’s how the story is gonna unfold? And that’s how we built it and we got a lot of success through it. By but falling still the same, like you say the same recipe how you tell a story, but in a different format. And that the big thing that we realized is that you could have the text just keep on dropping without you taking any action, just you know, autoplay of the video. And what what made a big difference is that people were taking action and tapping on the screen to go from one message to another. And that was a big, like, there was a big difference. Small things that you think about, but actually made a big difference on the engagement with the app. And yeah, I think we got to 12 so far or 60 million downloads on Yeah,
Matt DeCoursey 25:34
yeah. There’s you talked about, okay. True or false? This is engagement. You have 8 billion messages that have gone through that, I would say true.
True. Oh, yeah.
That’s all you want, right? Engagement.
Benoit Vatere 25:49
That’s a bit it said, It’s wild. When you find it goes back to the same thing. When you find the right format. The engagement will come but it takes loving each class so much testing to find the right format, the right story, to get those to those metrics.
Matt DeCoursey 26:07
Well, then you’ve got another one Wishbone.
Benoit Vatere 26:11
It’s our like,
Matt DeCoursey 26:12
there’s more there
Benoit Vatere 26:14
That was the same thing, which was a funny thing. What right people remember for where the guys are our age, the hot-non-hot kind of website, where you were wanting on folks where we did cute, we do the same thing on the phone, but about anything around pop culture. And it was a very simple app, now that you look at it. It’s just side by side image where you vote. But to get to this, which is massive engagement, right? On average, people are voting over 100 times per day, right? A hundred times, a 100 votes, right? Well, it took us to find this right format that was coming from an old school format, it’s where we’re gonna to come up with something new, right? It’s always coming from those principles that work over and over, but just in different environment.
Matt DeCoursey 27:04
Yeah, well, I’ll tip my cap to officially, sir. As both Yarn and Wishbone are consistently ranked in the top 100. Yeah, up charts. Now, you know, it’s funny, cuz, you know, this podcast is, is usually in the top 200 for entrepreneurship, it’s been as high as number 15. It’s been as low as who knows, because they quit measuring under 200. But considering the amount of apps and podcasts and all that stuff out there, I think if you can get anything going, where people pay attention, first off, thank them. Show a little gratitude and, and be glad now. I you know, with want to roll into expectations, the that come with content because it’s not uncommon for me to go to something and I run into anyone that says, Hey, man, I listen to your podcasts. I just started my own. And then eventually what happens is, this is why I really I feel really frustrated because I look at your podcasts. You guys just got 5 million download, or you have over 1000 episodes or something like that. And, and they say yeah, but and then I only get 100 downloads per episode. And I asked him, I said, so if tomorrow 100 people showed up to hear what you had to say. Would you consider that to be a big win? And overwhelmingly they’re like, yeah, that’d be amazing. That’d be awesome. I said, then your podcast is very successful. Yeah. So how do you measure what you guys created at Mammoth. Obviously, like sales cures, ales work, but how do you how do you set people up for expectation? Because like, like I said, I sell boring shit. Like, I don’t have the expectation that I’m going to do a video about how to create great software, they don’t go viral. That’s not that’s I have, in my mind proper expectations. If I can create a video about building software that goes viral, then I’m a genius. Because no one no one else does it. There are certain components with stuff. But how do you set up a client user or anyone’s expectations for determining what’s successful and what isn’t?
Benoit Vatere 29:21
Yeah, that’s a very good question. I mean, it depends on the product, obviously. But for us, it’s really about 90% of what you’re going to do is not going to work, as always talk, right? Because everybody’s saying that whenever they are going to it’s always a shiny object, that new shiny object, right, I’m talking to you. You have this silver bullet that is there make things work? Not Oh, no, I don’t. I have a good playbook that I can get through with you. And what we are going to get is data that you understand if you worked all as a work, and most likely on average 90% of the content that we create doesn’t work with very specific metrics that we define I went from an engagement perspective to a transaction perspective. But you’re not, it’s not going to work and then do you want at all, but no, actually, this is great. From this 90% is not gonna work for you. I’m gonna pull the 10% that may not work great, but as good metrics that lets you now real more that will pull you to get to the point that you want to be in order to scale. But even in any person at work, that’s where you’re gonna win the most. Right? And actually, the what is better is you know that it doesn’t work. So many people are just even in the content space on the pocket side, I’m sure you create and you don’t know why he doesn’t work, right? It just oh, you get your to you get even no listen or at some Was that why why nobody’s getting, that’s the most reassuring thing is when you don’t know why it doesn’t work. So for me, the knowing why it doesn’t work is a big piece. And that’s the expectations that we set. Not a silver bullet, but we’re gonna get you these data to understand.
Matt DeCoursey 30:57
I’ve been creating content for a long time at this point. And I will tell you that every content creator at some point creates something and you’re going this is it. This is the one, this is this this is I’m gonna I’m gonna win an Emmy, Grammy and Oscar and a Tony on this. I’m going to Egot all day, I’m going to be rich, I’m going to be famous, and then you hit publish. And that all you hear is you’re like, yeah. Tell you right now, if you meet anybody that creates content that can’t tell you that accent story, then they just have
Benoit Vatere 31:41
I mean, I had to be juggling around when I when I work with a team is like when they show it to me and I say I like it, it most likely is not going to work. Right? Usually I’m the I’m the one that if I like I know that probably this is not it. So yes, you can. And that’s why again, you need to understand what your audience wants is not what you like, necessarily what the audience is looking for. Right? And you need to understand you need to have this feedback loop in some way. So you understand what works and what doesn’t work, especially for content. Right? And that’s, that’s that, like I what your experience I experienced pretty much on a daily basis.
Matt DeCoursey 32:17
Yeah, and that’s hard to get around. I can’t imagine what that’s like, if it’s, if you have client, a client service wrapped around it, but But yeah, it’s, uh, you know, I recently bought a farm property south of Kansas City, and I’ve been doing a lot of work out there. And as the, the different service providers have come by, you know, they, they seem to have a tendency to figure out who I am or what I do and, and I’ve noticed, you know, I’ve get get to know some of these people because they’re working at our place, you know, a lot and, and by the time they’re done there, I’ve had three of them tell me they’re like, already, I wouldn’t bought the cameras already. I’m ready to go. And I’m gonna tell them I’m like, but they should be excited because they have something to show you know, if you show a time lapse, yeah, example you talk about, like the creation of a product and people like, well, I don’t want people to see that. Yeah, you do you use? Do you have something that it’s labor intensive or detail oriented or whatever? It is unbelievable. What like a simple time lapse like I have on I haven’t published it yet. But I did one of the so i we i have a half court basketball, like a half court basketball court installed. And it was such a fascinating process. Because you know, they come they gotta dig a bunch of dirt. They got to do all this stuff. And it’s just it’s very, it’s it you you see that there’s something soothing about seeing that process from beginning to end. But I asked the guy that on the company, I said, Well, what’s something you want to you want to do better at and you’re building value around what we do, I said, Well, this will start with something like this, even if it’s just on the homepage of your website, even if it doesn’t need to go viral. Just a quote, we’ll see how many people and how much stuff and how much action and how much work it takes into creating a 40 by 40 piece of concrete. Yes. And that’s cool. That’s still storytelling and you do it fast, work quick. No one wants to watch your eight minute video about that. Get it in really short and get it moving. But it’s little things like that, that I think can win and that direct. Now I know we’re talking direct-to-retail, it’s still kind of direct-to-retail, I mean on the buyers.
Benoit Vatere 34:32
It is and I see those videos more and more those you know time lapse like I see for me like and again that’s the algorithm that sees that I like it. I watch the entire videos without giving more of it. But I see those those gardening service, folks showing up, cleaning up your front yard or backyard is show up. It’s like a mess. It didn’t matter. 45 seconds. You see how they go in two days to make it like amazing, right? Yeah, this is this feeling of satisfaction. So now I’ll the craftsmanship of those books. And that that’s a great piece of great storytelling to knit. Of course, they may not call you right away, like I want your service. Most likely also the pulley not in your region. But now you have a relationship with the with the viewer and the consumer. Now you can tell them more. Right? And that’s specially for those kinds of folks. I think it’s a very valuable kind of content that they should create and post.
Matt DeCoursey 35:25
Yeah. And like I said, you sitting there going, Why did I pay $14,000 for all this equipment asked to come in, and these people have to do it, it takes multiple days. And, you know, like I said, a lot of it. And I think and you know that I think that that that shows really well. And that that what am I paying for? Because there’s a lot of stories out there. People say like, oh, I changed, I gave a $4,000 bid. And the buyer says, Well, that seems a little high. You know, what are you paying for while you’re paying for the 20 years that it took me to learn how to do this and accumulate all the tools and learn how to make it last and a lot of stuff like that. So you can really tell that story? Okay, so before we run out of time here, when, are there their products situations or or businesses that shouldn’t get into this scene?
Benoit Vatere 36:21
I don’t think so. I mean, obviously, there is a lot of regulation,
Matt DeCoursey 36:25
There isn’t a Yeah, I think it can kind of be for everyone. I think it’s
Benoit Vatere 36:29
There’s always a story to be told for any kind of products. So I don’t think any nobody should that. I mean, no, everybody should try. Everybody should find their own animal. Everybody should tell their own story.
Matt DeCoursey 36:44
What are some things that you recommend? I want to I don’t want to get out of here without some don’ts. Because I think a lot of people kind of mess some of this stuff up. Like we have a brand standard, where we don’t talk about religion, sex or politics, as well. The sex part is a workplace you know, and then religion and politics don’t really have anything to do with the products we sell. I have a better chance of pissing someone off and using them as a listener or a follower or viewer or whatever, or customer or client or prospect. When I’m talking about the other things. What are some, what are some of the things that are on your naughty list for avoiding?
Benoit Vatere 37:25
Yeah, well, first is getting kids in the content. It’s trouble. Just for a lot of different reason, for regulation, for comments. on that
Matt DeCoursey 37:37
track little box before you problems that said there’s kids in it, they’ll shout, yeah,
Benoit Vatere 37:42
There is someone that is less than 21 years old, all looks younger than 21 years old, I try to stay away from it. Right? Now. Also, there’s what you just say all those polarizing moments, right? And so you’re obviously religion, politics are not the one that you want to touch. But also there’s like reacting to events that just happen could backfire so fast, right? As a brand, you want to be very careful to. All brands want to elaborate, say they hope that they can ride the virality of something in order to also get their own moment. I’ve seen that going sideways so many times, right? So I would say for me the other way around is just you can go, you can go with your own lane and just go deep in your own lane. And don’t try to do it all. And don’t try to grab that moment and saying, Well, I’m gonna go with it. Does that fit in your lane? No, well, then don’t touch it. Right? Not that will be my biggest thing. Like, don’t go for those moments.
Matt DeCoursey 38:46
Yeah, the only time I’ve done any piece of content that was adjacent to current events was when Silicon Valley Bank collapsed. And that was and out that was and I sat there for an afternoon and I really like, I felt like I wanted to explain it to people and what was going on and why and you know that and you know, I did do it. I did end up publishing a small short form on it. And later I removed it. Yes. Cuz the situation had changed and stuff like that. And you know, I think it’s solved. It served a purpose in the beginning, but it didn’t age well.
Benoit Vatere 39:29
Now, I did drop. Though, as we have entrepreneurs listening to us, pick your bank wisely. I was, I was deep in Silicon Valley Bank. My business was SVP. All my personal cash was in SPV. So I learned my lesson in the hard way.
Matt DeCoursey 39:47
They’ve been a sponsor of this podcast, so like
Benoit Vatere 39:51
I don’t want to, you know, I don’t want to say anything bad about them because they help me as an entrepreneur. But I would say distribution of your cash across multiple banks is fully a good tip.
Matt DeCoursey 40:05
But yeah, that was, that was the only time and like I said, I did that just because I felt that I don’t want to sound full of myself when I say this, but it there’s been, you know, I find that I have to be a soothing voice more than anything else. Like, that’s the number one calls that I get from my friends and peers or people that reached out, Hey, if you’re listening, feel free to message me, find me on LinkedIn, that’s a good place to do it. And, you know, but you know, I ended up soothing people a lot. And that was one of those things, I felt like there was no way that the government was gonna just let that implode and leave us all. Yeah, if you got you got made whole, right?
Benoit Vatere 40:46
I did. And I was like you for the whole for the very beginning. So there was never gonna do that. And I’ve seen this kind of strain that you’re in your own echo chamber also, as a big advice for entrepreneurs, try to go out of your own echo chamber like the for me, am I my Twitter echo chamber. And that’s not good. Because I saw seeing that story going like, well, maybe we don’t want to save those Silicon Valley millionaires. Well, well, not all millionaires when we’re entrepreneurs, right? And so I was like, Oh, my gosh, that was that when they don’t backstop this, I’m in deep, deep trouble. But it went through. But I think what you do, and we should actually have more of that kind of thing going on in this partnership communities help each other, see as each other, try to calm down, rather than just go and hype that up and go go crazy because that’s what happened in those echo chamber. Everybody repeats the same thing over and over, and you will all start to freak out. Right? And that’s what our bond
Matt DeCoursey 41:44
It was part of why SVB failed because yeah, the social media bank run,
Benoit Vatere 41:49
Like I said it was a run on the bank trigger by Twitter. And so all right people on Twitter. So yes, don’t listen to your own echo chamber, go out of it and call your best friends.
Matt DeCoursey 42:02
One last do or don’t kind of thing on the way out is I’m personally of the belief that not all social media channels are for all businesses, even though you get like, a billion people in there. Like you mentioned, TikTok. The, you know, some of the like, okay, it’s hard for me to say that there isn’t a buyer for you on TikTok because there is there’s like a billion people that use it. So someone in there’s a potential prospect that I think that there are definitely certain platforms when it comes to publication that are better suited. And a lot of that has to do with the demographic. It could also have to do with the length or format. You know, like on Facebook Reels actually let you go 90 seconds, which, you know, one point it was basically long-form content, but what’s your take on getting your stuff on which platform to focus on and where to where to expect results and where to maybe be skeptical that you’ll get them?
Benoit Vatere 43:00
I agree. I mean, I think there is a clear already just between b2c, business-to-consumer, and b2b, business-to-business. Like there are different platforms, right? So I would say, if, for example, when you promote our apps for us, yes are Reels and the TikTok, where there are all those consumers wide variety of, you know, age groups is great. But if I need to promote my platform by directory platform. I’m not going to do that on zipped up. No, that’s what the people expect on that platform. Even if they are there, they’re expecting entertainment. They’ll not exploit and they are not expecting business talks on TikTok, even if there are people that are doing some good job at it. But if you go to LinkedIn or Twitter, most likely, you’re gonna get people in the mindset that they are ready to read and consume the content that you have. So I agree with you, not every single platform is good for everything. You have to pick, right? And in this, I would say your top two or top three?
Matt DeCoursey 43:56
Well, I’m like you mentioned like any b2b contact, like LinkedIn is made for that.
Benoit Vatere 44:02
I think LinkedIn and Twitter, that’s where that’s where it is. That’s why I think well,
Matt DeCoursey 44:08
And when you get when you get when you get a user that is in that environment, they’re in the business frame of mind. Yeah. Same message that might do really well on LinkedIn, you go put it on Facebook, where people are not as that either people do a lot of business and the Meta stuff anyway. But, you know, overall, that’s maybe not the frame of mind that they’re in. Like, I’ll get a different kind of engagement in that platform as I would on LinkedIn. Same exact message and then TikTok might be a whole nother thing. So I think, you know, as we wrap up, I like to do what I call the founders freestyle, and give every founder that I get on the show a chance to wrap things up. So is there anything that we didn’t talk about, mention or that we skipped over that you want to throw in and then I’ll take a turn with the mic too.
Benoit Vatere 45:00
Yeah, on my end, the thing that we didn’t touch really on and I think is if we have any of those folks here, and I know there are probably a good amount of listeners in that bucket that are creating their own brands that are going to sell either through direct-to-consumer and then in retail, and I, as we see right now, and the listeners may expect that it’s very difficult to raise capital against direct-to-consumer. There is a lot of different reason why but it’s difficult as entrepreneur right now to raise capital. The expectation is you’re going to have to have your product on shelves in retail, right? And so I think if I had to put some word out there is thinking about this strategy about how you’re going to get people where they are right now, which is in digital. On one of those platform that we talked about. And now you are going to get him to walk into a store. Just think through that. Right? The two numbers I would leave you with is like 80% of the media marketing doors for for CPG are in are in digital, but 90% of sales are in retail. How do you bridge those two. Think about it. With a content lens, just think about that with the content.
Matt DeCoursey 46:05
Well, you have to give your people a reason to take action. That’s part of it. One of the things that you mentioned, the one out of 10. Your one out of 10 pieces working are toes as big? Yeah, I get I often get asked what my philosophy on entrepreneurship is or what my approach is. And I said, Man, I’m just trying ten things, hoping that one works. And when I find one thing that works, when I find that crack, my first priority is trying to figure out how to shove an elephant through it, you know. And that’s, that’s what I think you need to look for. I think people get hung up on the nine things that didn’t work. You know, my two favorite words, when it comes to selling, are both four-letter words “sold” and “next.” You have to be ready to move on down the line and do something different. And look, here’s the thing there are businesses and brands that legit get built on that one out of 10 things that worked. And that’s where you need to put your energy, your emotion, your all of it, your ad spend because especially if you get something that goes viral. Now look, a golf ball video isn’t really a great example of what I should be using to sell developer services. And on the way out once again, today’s episode, Startup Hustle, is brought to you by FullScale.io. There’s a link in the show notes. Mammoth.la, link in the show notes there too. I gotta get, I gotta get that work in. I just realized. I get in trouble at work, man. I don’t want to have to show up. I get in trouble. But, but yeah, I mean, overall, like, you know, I think that the last thing I want to say is as first everybody’s content sucked in the beginning until it didn’t. Everyone’s had a marquee piece of something that didn’t fly that they thought would. The key is just to keep doing it and doing it and doing it. And you know, very few of anybody goes viral on their third post. Yes, arms aren’t really made to do that. They want to see you be consistent. They want to, but it takes a while.
Benoit Vatere 48:16
Don’t chase virality. Chase the quality of the engagement, chase the storytelling, and tell the right story. And, to just add to what you’re saying about every single first piece of content sucked. One of my favorite entrepreneurs and an investor, Reed Hoffman, one of the co-founders of LinkedIn said that if you’re not ashamed of your first product that you pushed out, it is because you didn’t move fast enough. And that’s the same with content. Don’t, don’t overthink it, don’t try to make it perfect. Create, push it up, and get reactions from your consumers.
Matt DeCoursey 48:55
I think if at any time in the history of this kind of stuff, you could get away with independent level production, meaning not, I mean, you look at people, you know, I see Gary Vee driving down, you know, in a car with a bouncy cell phone that’s kind of pointed at his face and people sit there and watch that stuff. You know, I mean, some of it, but it’s also that’s that’s, you know, I’m not a huge Gary Vee fan. I’ve not found disliked him either. So yeah, you know, I mean, overall, though, the thing is, is he sets all this stuff up. It’s all about trying to build value and create value. I think if you do that, and you tell a good story while you’re doing it, you’re gonna get some people that’ll pay attention. Everyone listening, go check it out Mammoth. Go to Mammoth.la. If you need help building your brand, it’s so much easier to do this stuff. When you have a guide ad just like the story we tried to tell. It’ll really save you a lot of pain and anguish. So reach out. Benoit, it has been a pleasure.
Benoit Vatere 49:59
Same here. Great chatting with you. It was fun.